Magistrates mark end of Fylde bench

Lord Shuttleworth

Lord Shuttleworth

Magistrates are set to clock up the miles after the death knell was sounded for the Fylde Coast bench.

Along with the six other benches in the county, the Fylde Coast bench - based at Blackpool Magistrates – will become part of a single Lancashire bench.

The Chapel Street court house will continue to operate as normal but all Fylde Coast magistrates will join their colleagues across Lancashire to form a single bench allowing them to sit anywhere within the county.

In front of more than 50 magistrates and court staff, tributes were paid to the magistracy on the Fylde Coast.

Leading these was Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire who thanked all for the work that they had done for the people of the area.

The magistracy is the bedrock of the judicial system in the country, he told the meeting, as he recognised the vital part the Coast’s magistrates had played in the life of the local community.

Solicitor, Mitch Seranghi, said more than 90 per cent of criminal cases were dealt with in the Magistrates Courts.

Barry Birch JP said the first recorded sitting of the Blackpool Borough magistrates was in September 1899 with Alderman John Bickerstaffe JP presiding.

The courts moved from King Street to the present site on Chapel Street in the 1960s and was at one time a Crown Court.

The Lytham Bench was the first to merge with Blackpool soon to be followed by the Wyre Bench in 2003 to form the Fylde Coast Bench.

A significant number of magistrates have opted to sit in other courts across the county in addition to sitting at Blackpool.

Similarly colleagues from other former benches will be sitting at Blackpool for the first time.

Mark Adamson, Deputy Justices Clerk for the Fylde Coast and Lancaster, was awarded a presentation to mark his 12 year stewardship of the Fylde Coast Bench.